Lung Cancer Crisis; NHS 'Can't Cope with the Rise in Women Victims'
Byline: JENNY HOPE
BRITAIN has the second worst rate in Europe for deaths from lung cancer among women, experts said yesterday.
Only Denmark has a poorer survival record, according to figures which highlight Britain's shameful record on women's
Experts believe the Health Service is heading for a crisis because of a rising number of women smokers contracting the disease and an increase in smoking by the young.
They claim the NHS needs increased funding for drugs and more specialists, which would improve survival rates, particularly among older victims.
Lung cancer is the cancer that kills the most adults, causing one in four cancer deaths. It is the most common male cancer and second commonest in women, although in some areas it has overtaken breast cancer.
There are 14 million smokers in the UK and smoking causes 90 per cent of lung cancer cases. Around 22,000 men die from lung cancer in Britain each year and almost 13,000 women, but the number of male patients is falling while the number of female cases is rising as more young women take up smoking.
The latest figures on lung cancer death rates among women in Europe show Britain has 21 deaths per 100,000, compared with 24 in Denmark.
The statistics, from the Union Internationael Contre Cancer, show women smokers in the UK are five times more likely to die of lung cancer than women in Spain, which has the best record.
Women here are also four times more likely to die of lung cancer than those in Portugal and France.
Other figures, published in the European Cancer Journal, show that when death rates for men and women smokers are combined Britain comes bottom of the league, with only four per cent surviving for five years.
The statistics show the U.S. has the best survival rate of 14 per cent.
It is followed by Switzerland (11.8 per cent), Finland (9.1 per cent) and France (8.7 per cent).
Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, warned yesterday that the NHS could buckle under the strain of treating a growing number of women
lung cancer patients. …